Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bear

As promised, here are some photos of our new livestock guardian dog, Bear. Bear is around 14 months old and he came to us from a farm in very rural Kansas where he was the faithful guardian of a flock of chickens. We chose to purchase Bear as opposed to a new puppy because he was already trained to work with birds and he was also good with kids. He does not disappoint! He has settled in beautifully here at the farm and he guards his poultry with great attention to detail. He even protected them from a ferocious toad the other evening. I caught the toad and reassured Bear that toads are welcome visitors on the farm, but it was pretty funny to see him snarling and growling at the poor toad.

Bear is a Great Pyrenees dog, a large breed that is historically used for guarding livestock. I became interested in this breed for several reasons, not the least of which was meeting Thistle, a Pyr owned by our farm friends at Sunflower River. Bear is a big boy--he is about 105 pounds right now and will grow a bit more. A nice thing about Pyrs is that they don't eat very much relative to other breeds so even though he's big, we are able to feed him well with bones, organs, and other meat products from the farm (chicken heads, etc). We have not lost one chicken to raccoons since he came home. He lives with the chickens but gets lots of love and attention during the day from people. We are just thrilled with him and will probably never again be without a livestock guardian dog, at least for as long as we have livestock.

Here he is hamming it up for the camera:

Here he is meeting Sylvia for the first time. This gives you an idea of his size and his love of people.

Oh, and he works sometimes too! Here he is patrolling the chicken yard for invaders.

9 comments:

yarrow said...

Bear is gorgeous! and 2 months older than miss Thistle. who is about 90-some pounds these days, i think, and shedding like a sheep. we should let them play together sometime! i'd love to meet him.

Gwen said...

Megan has been waiting for pictures! She'll be so excited to see Bear. He's beautiful. And so huge!

Karen said...

He's beautiful! Got to love those "giant" breeds...

Gemini said...

We don't have any livestock at all at the moment, but some of our neighbors have sheep and chickens. They also have two Great Pyranees that live with the livestock in a fenced-off area. The dogs are very friendly to everyone, but when it comes to perceived threats (such as neighboring dogs), they are both very protective.

TheOrganicSister said...

aw he's adorable! we have a dog named bear, also. he looked like a polar bear when he was born. lol

~tara

hahamommy said...

ooooh I am in love with your dog from afar! We are hoping that Charlie will accept our job offer as chicken guard, when the time comes :D We already know there's a fox in the area, who likes the field rodents. Charlie hasn't killed any ground squirrels since his first rush of 6 in 3 days, they're either smarter or gone ;) If he can recognize the flock as his "pack" then we'll be all good <3

karl said...

we will never be without a livestock guardian dog again either. we love our great pyrenees. henry-the-show-dog is an amazing animal. he demands nothing. he accepts praise, threats and responsibility in stride. we are already planning for a companion great pyrenees within the next year or so. he has saved several chickens lives, alerted us to far too many threats to mention. he barks alot but had a distinct bark for true threats. i can't imagine a more perfect dog for us. btw we are not dog people

Sissie said...

What a gorgeous dog!

karl said...

we love our great pyr. also. like yours henry lives with the animals. we'll likely get another one soon since they eat so little and allegedly work better in pairs.